Boston Gang Unit Not Surprised By Shooting Of Its Member


It came as no surprise to the Boston Police youth violence strike force that one of their own was shot by a reputed gang member, says the Boston Globe. After visiting Officer Stephen Romano at a hospital where he was being treated for a gunshot wound Wednesday night, about 15 strike force members huddled in their squad room and talked until nearly dawn about how cold and brazen the youths they confront on the streets are. “A lot of guys are raising that concern, that some of these kids just don’t care,” said Lt. Michael Conley, commander of the unit, which includes 36 Boston officers and 17 state troopers. “A lot of these kids just feel so distant when you talk to them. They don’t look beyond 18 years old sometimes. They really don’t think about a future.”

The gang unit, profiled recently on “America’s Most Wanted,” has the police department’s most dangerous job. It must keep track of warring gangs, which are becoming more active and are responsible for much of Boston’s street violence. With mug shots and license plate numbers and usually in plain clothes, officers search streets and back alleys to find and confront some of the city’s most violent suspects. Last year, the unit seized nearly 25 percent of all guns taken off the street by Boston police. It is possible that a new campaign to put more officers in violent hot spots, including the area where Wednesday night’s shooting occurred, has stirred up tension with gang members who resent the near-constant police presence. Said Police Commissioner Edward Davis: “Several people have said to me, ‘How can you ask these officers to go in, when you know these people are armed?’ Well, that’s what we do. You know what I mean? Who else is going to do it? The gang unit is charged with dealing with gangs. It’s gangs that have the guns right now, so they’re right in the middle of it.”


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